Monday, September 18

Stepped into some Controversy, Hunh?

Surprise, surprise. This idea proves to be unpopular.

I am neither surprised nor am I discouraged by the idea that further regulation of alcohol purchases is not popular.

However, to my critics I would note that there is no such thing as free trade in alcohol in Cascade County. If you don't believe me, start trying to sell alcohol without a license!

The sale of alcohol already requires both restrictive licenses and burdensome regulations. Licensees have already agreed to be bound by restrictions that are subject to change. These regulations already severely limit the ability to sell alcohol except under a strict range of circumstances. Alcohol may not be sold to minors. It may not be sold between 2 a.m. - 6 a.m. Etcetera.

Let me also be clear; I support the general idea behind this ordinance. I do not support it because I know from personal experience that the idea will work. I support it because beat cops patrolling downtown Great Falls have told me that such a regulation will solve a great deal of the problems they face.

In the final analysis the officers protecting our City believe this idea will work. I submit to you that these officers spend more time examining this problem than anyone else in our town. I rely upon their experience, and believe it to be more persuasive than the arguments put forward by my critics thus far.

However, I thank you all for the continued debate. I look forward to your next argument.


GeeGuy said...

With all due respect to the officers you have spoken to, I'm sure that they would also tell you that they could do much better without that pesky Fourth Amendment, too. And let's make it really easy and abolish the Sixth as well.

But frankly, you raise another interesting question. Does the City even have the jurisdiction to make single beer sales illegal? I wish I had time to research it, but I don't.

Mackenzie said...

It must be nice to sit on your couch and attack ideas of those who are actually doing something about the problems. I am wondering what you have done to make society safer. Although you are quick to criticize officers are suspicous of their wishes to "abolish" the 4th and 6th amendment, I am certain you wouldn't hesitate to rely on them for help. Thank goodness for the First Amendment so you can feel free to verbally attack officers that put their lives on the line to protect your freedoms and your family while the officers families live in constant worry. Must be nice....

a-fire-fly said...

Interesting intro into this blogging arena Mackenzie.

GeeGuy said...

Hey, Mackenzie, you might want to read a little deeper before you accuse me of "attacking" the officers. Of course the officers are trying to "do something about the problems." That doesn't mean it's the right thing.

And yeah, you're right. Thank goodness for the First Amendment. I am glad I can disagree with officers, even well-intentioned ones. That's what it's all about, Mack.

The only way to read that as an attack on the police is to read it with a chip on your shoulder.

Anonymous said...

From the Great Falls Police Department thank you Mackenzie.

Anonymous said...

I propose that this website be changed to Treasure State Big Brother.

GeeGuy said...

First, TSJ, I think you need to republish or something. I can only see two comments unless I come to the posting page.

Second, I am pretty frustrated by the response of Mackenzie and "anonymous." Now police officers are beyond question? Complete and wholehearted agreement is the only response? Any suggestion to a GFPD idea is now "attacking" or "criticism?" Assuming that you two are police officers or otherwise related to the GFPD, I think you need a bit thicker skin and a lot smaller dose of self-righteousness.

I am a member of a profession slandered and attacked without end. I'll defend my own practice of it, but I will also admit that none of my number, including myself, are above criticism or question.

Mackenzie said...

You must be a lawyer....but you didn't answer my question about what you yourself have done to make society safer or even what your ideas were to alleviate the problems.

GeeGuy said...

I'll answer your question, MacKenzie, when you first explain why it is relevant to the discussion. Explain to me why, at least in your opinion, I first must demonstrate some 'bona fides' on community safety before my opinion on a subject about personal freedom can be deemed meritworthy.

Is that your standard for freedom of expression? Just tell me what your grounds are, and then I will happily explain some of the things I have done to make our community safer.

Treasure State Jew said...

Quite frankly, the most interesting thing discussed in this exchange is the question as to whether the City has the jurisdiction to act here or not.

As for the rest of it, I am disappointed to say that it is indicative of what has become of political discussion throughout the "blogosphere." Personal attacks, name calling and ideologing.

Are police officers beyond reproach and/or beyond question? Of course not. However, I bring them up for the same reason the Geeguy might bring an expert witness to a trial; a cop patrolling the streets downtown has a unique perspective that is worth hearing.

On the other side, questioning this effort in the name of constitutional rights shouldn't hurt one's credibility here. I do not happen to think that there is a constitutional issue here; we are talking about further regulating an already regulated product. However, it is entirely legitimate to bring it up.

Can we get back to issues and stop attacking the messengers?

ZenPanda said...

What are the current regs on the sale of single cans of beer? (I'm not sure I read your post correctly.)
Are they not locked up like the rest when off sale?
Regulation of alcohol is important and hsold not be taken lightly. I'd like to be clear before I support or oppose the idea.

a-fire-fly said...

Zen, from what I have been able to find out, if Zoning allows sale of alcohol, with a proper liquor license, a business is allowed to sell beer. I can find nothing that indicates the actual size or packaging of the beer could be regulated.

Aaron, you still need to show overwhelming public good for this action, and preventing a few bums from picking up a couple beers is a long way from that.

And could you please point me to where the messenger was attacked?

Treasure State Jew said...

Panda; I don't know if there are any regs. I do believe that it is incorrect to imply that alcohol must be locked up when it is illegal to sell it (2 a.m. - 6 a.m.)

One of the concerns that the GFPD has brought to the meetings I have attended is that in the stores open 24/7 that also sell alcohol, they are concerned about unlocked alcohol during those time periods being an incentive to theft. If there already was an ordinance to lock up alcohol during that time period, I could not see why there would be a concern.

Treasure State Jew said...

Firefly; Geeguy has the right to bring up any issues he wants, regardless of whether or not he is an attorney.

GeeGuy said...

Where did MacKenzie go?

ZenPanda said...

So it is not necessarily locked up, it is just off sale? OK- for some reason I was always under the impression that it was actually locked up. (I can be very trusting about things I know nothing about)

From my conversations with people who work at a 24/7 store which sells beer- thefts happen throughout the day and mainly involving grabbing as much as possible vs. a single beer. I'm not saying it doesn’t happen. Theft is theft.
Crime control involves everyone in the community.
If regulations are needed as to the sale of beer I'm with Geeguy in thinking it may not be a city jurisdiction.

What are other options?

Treasure State Jew said...


I don't know the statistics here. I also am not qualified to say which agency has jurisdiction where.

You do bring up an interesting point; crime control does involve everyone in the community. At its most basic, that's what this idea is about; a community based way to reduce crime in that community.

What this idea isn't about is restricting anyone's constitutional rights. I suggest that section 2 of Amendment 21 to the Constitution makes it pretty clear that no one has a constitutional right to unfettered traded in alcohol.

Is this a good idea? I submit that depends entirely on its potential for success in reducing the amount of public drunkenness from open containers in the downtown.

For one, I am tired of having my property vandalized. I am tired of taking my kids to the park and seeing public property destroyed or damaged due to hooliganism. This idea, or something that stronly resembles it, may well help solve these problems.

GeeGuy said...

I am offering this as a possibility, because I don't know if it is true. But I would submit that there is far more vandalism caused by the 12-25 set than drunken homeless people.